The WINDPOWER 2013 Conference & Exhibition officially began Monday morning in Chicago. New leadership for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will be inducted, followed by a packed schedule of educational sessions and a dynamic exhibition covering the area of 11 football fields.
According to AWEA, WINDPOWER 2013's program is organized around the theme Solutions for Success – fitting for the event's central location to American wind power and the industry's current priorities. AWEA says the Midwest is the most active region in the U.S. for wind energy development, and a manufacturing supply chain has sprung up in the area.
WINDPOWER 2013 also marks the start of a new industry year, with Gabriel Alonso, CEO of EDP Renewables North America, beginning his one-year term as board chair.
In addition, during the Opening Session, the industry will officially meet AWEA's incoming CEO, Tom Kiernan, who starts in his new position May 28. Kiernan comes to AWEA from the National Parks Conservation Association and was a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush's administration. AWEA says he offers business experience and a bipartisan approach to policy.
"I'm excited to be able to help kick off WINDPOWER," says Kiernan. "I've heard so much about this great event, and I know it will be the perfect way to begin immersing myself in the industry. Most importantly, I look forward to meeting the people who represent American wind power and hearing their stories – the people who never stop advancing the clean, affordable, homegrown energy that has become such an economic engine for this region, and opportunity for our nation."
AWEA says Monday's schedule features a full slate of Technical Training Courses – a brand-new set of extended sessions addressing the hands-on side of the industry, from effective operation-and-maintenance practices and wind resource assessment, to electrical safety for managers and an examination of wind's environmental, economic and social impact. The courses are led by AWEA member companies and organizations specializing in the respective areas.